Monday, 9 April 2012

Gympie to Hervey Bay

Thankfully Clare didn't go into labour during the night. Played with the delightful Rosy and then left them all to decorate a room in time for the baby. $6.60 (nearly five quid) for a small bar of chocolate and a bag of licorice from a convenience store! Daylight robbery. Able to stay off the Bruce Highway, which has changed it's name from Pacific Highway since being in Queensland. Instead took Tin Can Bay Road and then turned off to Maryborough, where Clare had told me to pee on the left hand side of the road because the other side is a military training area. Sadly not able to go the extra 29 kms to Rainbow Beach (and back) which is supposed to be nice and my Dad had asked me to photograph it for him, as I already had a heavy mileage. Pine tree forest mostly. Why are some motorists such ignorant bastards? Even when the other side of the road is clear they sometimes don't deviate at all to give me room. I must have passed hundreds of roadside vigils to the slain, yet the madmen still roar by, I reckon 10 mph faster than UK traffic on average. Ate the last of the spanakopita in a grassy enclave in the forest, watching ants and watchful of mosquitos.

Maryborough was a ghost town, this being Good Friday, except for chiming bells and a re-enactment of the crucifixion outside one church in front of a single figure congregation. I think the young man wearing shorts and sunglasses, who held the cross, had been volunteered by his mother and would rather have been at the beach.
On to Hervey Bay, quite a big, typical seaside resort. Here I hooked up with Couchsurfer Dave and Simba, his biscuit colour pitball. Originally from British Columbia, Dave had started a family with an Australian, but she had turned into a 'psycho' and he is currently fighting for access to his, now teenage, children, through the courts - and representing himself. He keeps a low profile and all his earnings are cash in hand (taking backpackers on tours of Fraser Island and handyman jobs) to keep his ex in the dark about his earnings and has little in the way of artefacts (he has no glasses for example and drinks out of a jar) to stop her from breaking in and steeling things. Over Thai Green Curry with pasta, he provided a different view of Australia and its people. He said there were a lot of 'bludgers' here (scroungers) because of the generous benefits system, and that the country had been environmentally raped. He introduced me to moonshine (unflavoured rum from up the coast in Bundaberg) with root beer and it was tasty. Dave has friends who get him all kinds of things free or on the cheap and he generally lives an inexpensive existence. I slept downstairs in the Couchsurfing quarters (he has a lot of people staying here).

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